Scene 9

We walk into the train station, and into Freddy’s Diner on the second floor next to the luggage and cargo room. In the back, the rest of the gang are seated around a table. No one looks at me. We sit down.

− When’s she coming in? X asks Aria.

− Three forty-seven.

− How do you know she’s not a cop? Nel says.

− Do I care?

− Do you care? I care. I like to go where I want. I like to choose who fucks me up the ass. I like to stay in flesh and blood.

− Relax. She’s cool. Help me with the fantasy. Do you think it’s too long?

− Once it starts, people won’t wanna turn it off, Nel says.

− Do you think people are gonna care?

−Care? Are you kidding? People have never seen anything like this, Flex says. It’s gonna blow their brains. They’re gonna wake up, for sure.

− People just seem so happy with what they’ve got.

− Show them something better, and you’ll be surprised what they can do.

− If it doesn’t work, we’re fucked.

−So what? At least we tried.

− What are you talking about? I ask between slurps of my apple pie à la mode.

Aria looks at me.

− Do you want to show it to him? X says. We’ve got over two hours.

− Opsec! Nel says.

− Down, girl. Aria says.

She takes me by the hand and pulls me out of the booth.

− Hey! My apple pie!

She leads me out of the diner, out of the station, and into the parking lot to the van. We get in. She takes a headset connected to an ipod and hands it to me.

− What’s this?

− Just put it on.

I strap on the headset and she powers up the machine. She swipes her thumb over the dial and punches the button.

 

An hour passes, though I don’t notice. I am completely engrossed in the fantasy. I take the headset off.

− What do you think?

− Wow! It was so real! Cool. I don’t get it, though. What was I supposed to do? It’s not like any cyberfantasy I’ve ever had. It wasn’t my fantasy. It got sorta boring there toward the end. But other people seemed to be having a good time.

− Did it seem real to you?

− More real than any cyberfantasy I’ve ever done. I forgot it was a fantasy.

− That’s the point.

− I don’t get it. People put their headsets on because they wanna escape this world for a while. Go to a wonderful place. A beach. Pretty mountains. A place where people are perfect and they don’t argue. Where guys always get the hot babe. Where girls have a nice boyfriend. Where you can be rich, or famous, or strong. A knight; a pirate; a cowboy. For girls, a damsel; Cleopatra; Marilyn Monroe; Joan of Arc. Something that makes them feel good. This one is just about our world.  No one wants to think about that. That’s not what they buy cyberfantasies for. People are not gonna get it. It’s just gonna be in one ear, out the other. Like a public service announcement.

− Maybe. If I can get one person in the whole world to take off his headset, I’ll be happy.

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